A sequel of sorts to Basbanes's earlier A Gentle Madness (on the manic nature of bookselling and book-collecting), this copious volume takes its title from the formidable lions guarding the entrance to the main branch of the New York Public Library in Manhattan. Opening with the great libraries of the past, from Alexandria to Pergamum and Glastonbury, Basbanes, former literary editor of the Worcester Sunday Telegram, segues into such venerable active libraries as those at the Vatican, Wolfenbottel and the universities of Durham, Leiden and Oxford. He visits with shrewd, sometimes eccentric book dealers who happily recount tales of bygone bibliophiles, and illustrates a variety of collections, from illuminated medieval manuscripts to volumes more valuable for who owned them than for binding or content. "I absolutely insist on keeping the same crummy look," a bookshop owner tells him proudly. "Every time I make the place too neat, business goes down." But a pathos pervades the book, for despite the huge increase in readers and book buyers, one dealer observes "a radical dismantling of high culture well under way" since the 1930s. The collector in 1939 who bought a rare book about Native American languages "by selling bottles of his own blood" has no latter-day parallel. Basbanes closes with tales of crusty benefactors like Andrew Carnegie, and interviews with librarians faced with the dilemma of too many old books that no one now wants to read. Basbanes's fund of stories will delight readers who value books for more than just a good story, have a yen for second-hand books plucked from dusty shops or look to book catalogs for suspense and excitement. 32 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agents, Glen Hartley and Lynn T. Chu. (Oct.)Forecast: This will undoubtedly garner much attention in the book pages, as did its predecessor, aided by a six-city author tour, a 15-city NPR campaign and print features.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In A Gentle Madness, bibliophile and longtime newspaper literary editor Basbanes explored the obsession of book collecting. Here he widens his focus to view all of book culture. He gives us his unique outlook on the great libraries and great librarians past and present, and he shares his seemingly infinite stock of stories about famous and unknown makers of books, influential booksellers, antiquarians, celebrated writers, and extraordinary readers, bibliographers, conservators, archivists, and collectors. With seemingly little underlying structure, Basbanes's remarkable stories follow one after the other until we are carried away with him on his bookish travels. Along the way, we visit the famed ancient library in Alexandria, as well as the new one now under construction there. We get intimate views of the great public libraries in New York and Boston and of various other libraries. We sit in on interviews with authors (e.g., Umberto Eco, Robert Coover), monks, and countless others. Titled after the unofficial names for the two lion statues that stand outside the New York Public Library, this book will be followed by a sequel, Life Beyond Life: The Permanence of Books in an Impermanent World, in January 2003. Highly recommended. Paul D'Alessandro, Portland P.L., ME
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I read A Gentle Madness and Among the Gently Mad prior to this and loved them dearly. As for this book, it's like the author was dancing in an endless sea of wildflowers and, while... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Heather W.
It's always nice to have a good selection of interesting items to choose from when I'm shopping for gifts for friends and family far away, and It's good to know they'll get them in... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Ahacanada
Like Kafka might have said, don't bug me
Having loathed Every Book Its Reader, a work that (laboriously second-hand, bulked out with fawning interviews) I'd foolishly... Read more
This is an engaging compilation of book talk topics. Anecdotes abound. The London Library celebrated its one hundred fiftieth anniversary in 1991. Read morePublished on September 21, 2007 by Mary E. Sibley
If you love books than you will love Nicholas Basbanes. In this installment of Basbanes ode to all things printed and bound he delves into (among other things) the world of... Read morePublished on September 6, 2006 by Kindle Customer
I still have not been able to read A Gentle Madness, but from previous reviews, I can get the sense that there is a similar theme to this one. Read morePublished on February 24, 2006 by P. J Lambert
Perhaps being a librarian meant I was always going to cast a jaundiced eye on this book but "A Gentle Madness" was so good I had to take the bait. Read morePublished on July 23, 2005 by Carol Denehy
I have not finished reading "Patience & Fortitude," although it is still on my wish list as a book I would "love to have. Read morePublished on July 15, 2005 by Jaundiced Eye